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'Every time I hear of a new rugby competition I just want to puke!' | KEITH WOOD

The idea of a new Club World Cup makes Keith Wood 'just want to puke', as there are already too many pressures on players as it is.

The idea of a new Club World Cup makes Irish rugby legend Keith Wood 'just want to puke', as there are already too many pressures on players as it is.

Reports this week have suggested that a new rugby Club World Cup could be up and running every four years, starting from as soon as 2028.

This would add a new competition to the global game in the middle of the four-year World Cup cycle, in the same years as British & Irish Lions tours, and will place increasing pressure on squads and players.

There has also been no indication that the regular season of already established club competitions, such as Super Rugby, the URC or Champions Cup, will be truncated or shortened in any way.

This leaves players in the position where they will be playing an increased number of matches every two years, with the current setup already taking it's toll on players as it is.

For former Ireland captain Keith Wood, there is nothing good about adding a new international club competition to the calendar.

Everything wrong with a Club World Cup

Speaking on Wednesday Night Rugby, Wood looked at everything wrong with the proposed Club World Cup.

"I love the game, so let me put that down as a starter," Wood clarified. "We keep talking about player welfare, we talk about sustainability, and we talked during COVID about the ludicrous nature of the constant flying to far parts of the world. Now it's happening in our club competition.

"I'm not a fan of that, i think we do need to limit certain areas of those. We're looking at financial viability, so everybody looking to see is there another pot of gold that you can play to get more money out of it.

"I think the money people in World Rugby will say that the amount of money they've made from the last World Cup has probably exceeded anything else by any stretch of the imagination.

"But, there were a lot of games there, the 60-80 point [losses], that doesn't do the world game a whole lot of favours. There's other things that need to be rectified within that four year period of time.

"I think there's a lot wrong with the game, I think there's an awful lot great about the game, but every time I hear of a new competition, it just makes me want to puke!"

What about player welfare?

The biggest issue for Wood is player welfare. He has already made clear his feelings on the current state of the bench, as well as the ever-increasing size of modern rugby players, and he feels a Club World Cup will only exacerbate the issues.

This would be added to the additional games needed to be played each year, meaning serious injuries would only be avoided by ballooning squads even further.

"I just think they're trying to fill every single weekend of the year," Wood said. "How big are the squads supposed to be to try and cater for 16 matches in a row?

"They were doing it at one stage where you had three and then a break, because that was what was necessary. So, now they've squeezed the Six Nations so that midweek gap is going to go.

"Everything is being squeezed so you're filling every single weekend."

"The players are getting bigger, you have eight subs there, they only have to play for 80 minutes, that's fine, only the players are getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger now," Wood added.

"Something has to go with that. American football's regular season is 16 weeks. We're talking 48 weeks, nearly, at this stage!"

For Wood, the solution to a Club World Cup would be to just have the champions of Europe taking on the champions of Super Rugby.

"If you're going to have a club competition, have the winners of Europe against the winners of [Super Rugby]," Wood said.

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